What Is a Secondary Brain Injury?

What Is a Secondary Brain Injury? There are numerous types of traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, contusions, hematomas, and hemorrhages, among others. Any traumatic head injury can have life-altering consequences, making them serious medical issues requiring immediate attention from healthcare professionals. If you or a loved one in Harrisburg, PA, recently sustained a TBI for any reason, such as the negligence of others, the risk of a secondary brain injury is present. Learn about secondary brain injuries and why speaking with an attorney if your injury was negligence-based is strongly recommended.

What causes a brain injury?

Brain injuries result from external, forceful blows to the head, which can happen several ways. Some of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries include:

If the traumatic brain injury is due to intentional violence, such as striking someone in the head with a heavy blunt object, it is not a negligence-based personal injury case. Instead, it is known in the personal injury legal realm as intentional tort. In terms of vehicular accidents, the TBI can occur because of a head-on, rear, or side-impact collision. Fall-related accidents concern slipping, falling, and hitting the head. However, traumatic brain injuries can also occur from falling objects, such as a heavy piece of unsecured work equipment that falls on an employee.

How do secondary brain injuries occur?

A secondary brain injury happens hours or days after the initial injury. It is the result of the first injury and can include changes to brain cells, tissues, chemicals, or blood vessels that worsen over time. Secondary brain injuries can result in brain damage or death. For example, say an individual falls on an icy, poorly maintained sidewalk in front of a retail store.

The impact of the fall results in a brain bruise, or coup lesion. Because of the force of the impact, the brain hits the opposite side of the skull, causing a second bruise, or contrecoup lesion. Damage on both sides of the brain can result in shearing, or tearing, of the organ’s blood vessels, tissues, and internal lining, resulting in more internal bruising. Internal bleeding and swelling can also occur, which has serious, if not fatal, consequences.

Other causes of secondary brain injuries include:

  • Cerebral hypoxia (insufficient oxygen to the brain)
  • Ischemia (insufficient blood flow)
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Intracranial pressure (pressure inside the skull)

There are also instances when secondary brain injuries are not due to primary brain injuries. Common causes for non-primary-related secondary brain injuries include:

  • Excessive acid in the blood
  • Brain abscesses
  • Brain tumors
  • High levels of carbon dioxide in the blood, or hypercapnia
  • Neurotransmitter release alteration
  • Meningitis

When a primary brain injury occurs, seeking immediate medical attention reduces the risk of a secondary brain injury. Doctors and surgeons take measures to prevent further trauma to the brain, such as providing oxygen therapy, assorted medications, or performing surgery. For example, surgery might be needed to release pressure on the brain that risks severe swelling and bleeding.

What are symptoms of secondary brain injuries?

Symptoms of secondary brain injuries vary in accordance with the type of injury and the individual. Typical symptoms of such injuries can include slurred speech, memory loss, unexplained convulsions and seizures, severe and ongoing headaches, vision issues, light and noise sensitivities, fainting and dizziness, sudden hearing or sense of smell loss, and sleep pattern changes. Symptoms can also include confusion, communication difficulties, sudden personality changes or mood swings, reduced sense of space and time, judgment issues, and coma.

Who is liable for a secondary brain injury after an accident in Harrisburg?

If a secondary brain injury occurs because of someone else’s negligence or intentional actions, they are liable for the resulting injuries and emotional trauma. Entities can also be liable, such as a business that does not secure heavy inventory properly, causing the objects to fall on a customer. Examples of liable parties include, but are not limited to, motor vehicle drivers, construction and warehouse companies, semi-truck drivers and trucking companies, government agencies, and property owners.

Filing a legal claim with an attorney’s help provides the offending party with a list of requested damages. Economic damages related to the cost of the secondary brain injury include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Disability if the individual can no longer work
  • Ongoing medical care, such as physical or occupational therapy

Non-economic damages related to the emotional trauma of the accident include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of life enjoyment

It is necessary to file a claim before the personal injury statute of limitations expires. If the victim, or plaintiff, lives in Harrisburg or anywhere else in Pennsylvania, for example, they have two years from the date of the accident to file. Attorneys stress contacting them as soon as possible after accidents resulting in serious injuries to avoid missing the filing deadline. Doing so risks legal repercussions for the lawyer, in addition to a case dismissal by the local court.

If property damage occurs in conjunction with the injury, the individual has two years to file a property claim.

While winning damages for a primary or secondary brain injury does not make up for the trauma you have experienced, it does provide compensation necessary for medical care and other expenses. Damages subsequently help you and your family stress less, which allows you to focus on healing. Your lawyer works with you through every step of the claim, which includes gathering evidence that supports your case and makes it clear that negligence or intentional tort occurred. An experienced attorney also provides legal counsel and representation during settlement.

If you need to speak with a lawyer about a secondary brain injury, contact KBG Injury Law today. Our attorneys provide clients in Harrisburg, PA, and the surrounding areas with dedicated counsel and representation to help them win the damages they are owed. Call our office or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We maintain additional offices in York, Lancaster, Hanover, and Gettysburg.